Trail Blazers hope to trade No. 3 pick with Simons for star, want to re-sign Grant
Damian Lillard wants to stay and win in Portland. The Trail Blazers’ front office is committed to building that winner around him. It’s not the sexy transactional story everybody wants, but it’s what league sources have consistently told NBC Sports (and has been reported elsewhere) for more than a year. While Lillard trade talk has gained buzz, until Lillard asks out it is nothing more than a combination of wishful thinking and click-bait speculation.
The dream scenario for the Trail Blazers? Trade the No. 3 pick — which likely means the rights to Scoot Henderson — and a player like Anfernee Simons for another star, something Kevin O’Conner reported on at The Ringer.
The question is, would the No. 3 pick and Simons be enough to land a star? That depends on how highly a team rates Henderson, who seemed a lock No. 2 pick six months ago but is now seen likely to go No. 3 — with Charlotte taking Brandon Miller at No. 2 — and there is buzz Henderson could fall further than that. In the case of Brooklyn GM Sean Marks, would the No. 3 pick and Simons be enough to give up Mikal Bridges? Marks already knows Bridges is very good, is the Henderson upside worth it? Portland may think they should get more back in that deal, but if a team is not high on Henderson, its leverage slips.
Portland’s rebuilding around Lillard plans include re-signing Jerami Grant, reports Jake Fischer at Yahoo Sports.
Plan A and Plan B in Portland are to retool a playoff contending team around Lillard. That may not be what fans outside the Pacific Northwest or other front offices want to hear, but league sources NBC Sports has spoken with have been consistent.
If Portland can’t trade the pick and select Henderson (or whomever), maybe the conversation will start to change. But only Lillard will decide if Lillard is leaving the Trail Blazers.